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Tesco and a Motorway

Florence Sutcliffe-Braithwaite: In the Coalfields, 9 September 2021

Anne & BettyUnited by the Struggle 
by Anne Scargill and Betty Cook.
Route, 256 pp., £20, November 2020, 978 1 901927 81 8
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Women of the Durham Coalfield in the 20th Century: Hannah’s Daughter 
by Margaret Hedley.
History Press, 159 pp., £14.99, March, 978 0 7509 9504 7
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Coal Country: The Meaning and Memory of Deindustrialisation in Postwar Scotland 
by Ewan Gibbs.
University of London, 306 pp., £25, February, 978 1 912702 55 8
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Scottish Coal Miners in the 20th Century 
by Jim Phillips.
Edinburgh, 336 pp., £24.99, February, 978 1 4744 5232 8
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The Shadow of the Mine: Coal and the End of Industrial Britain 
by Huw Beynon and Ray Hudson.
Verso, 402 pp., £20, June, 978 1 83976 155 3
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... or dust.Coal has less orthodox uses, too. In a memoir written with her friend and fellow activist Betty Cook, Anne Scargill recalls attending a debate over the relative merits of nuclear power and coal with her husband, Arthur, president of the National Union of Mineworkers from 1981 to 2002. The scientist who was arguing for nuclear power had brought a ...

Thank God for Betty

Tessa Hadley: Jane Gardam, 11 March 2010

The Man in the Wooden Hat 
by Jane Gardam.
Chatto, 213 pp., £14.99, September 2009, 978 0 7011 7798 0
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... from Feathers’s life in retirement in Dorset, falling to pieces after the death of his wife, Betty, with a narrative of his childhood and youth. The Man in the Wooden Hat is mostly Betty’s story. This repetition ought to be dangerous: the second book could feel hemmed in, too short on surprises. But Gardam persuades ...

Betty Crocker’s Theory

Paul Churchland, 12 May 1994

The Rediscovery of the Mind 
by John Searle.
MIT, 270 pp., £19.95, August 1992, 0 262 19321 3
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... reminds me of a comparable persistence in a comparable domain. It appears in the Introduction to Betty Crocker’s Microwave Cooking, a book published soon after microwave ovens began to appear in every American kitchen. (‘Betty Crocker’ is a brand name for various baking products.) Before turning to the recipes, the ...

Dear Mohamed

Paul Foot, 20 February 1997

Sleaze: The Corruption of Parliament 
by David Leigh and Ed Vulliamy.
Fourth Estate, 263 pp., £9.99, January 1997, 1 85702 694 2
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... Betty Boothroyd has called on the media to provide ‘fairer and better balanced coverage’ of the House of Commons. ‘Above all,’ she has warned, they ‘should not use the occasion for highly generalised and unsubstantiated comments against Members of the House as a whole and the Parliamentary system’. The ‘occasion’ to which she refers is the inquiry being conducted by a new officer of her House, Sir Gordon Downey, Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards ...

The Shock of the Pretty

James Meek: Seventy Hours with Don Draper, 9 April 2015

... overcoat and a polo-neck in the same Christmas green as the pine needles. In the centre his wife, Betty, holds baby Gene in her arms, his scarlet jacket setting off her teal coat. The juxtaposition of Bobby’s tartan zip-up jacket and baseball cap with the Madonna-like incline of blonde Betty’s passionlessly beautiful ...


Rosemary Dinnage: Remembering (and Forgetting) 1943, 18 May 2000

... her Jewish relatives in Brooklyn and was going back to Willesden, a place I hadn’t heard of; Betty and Audrey were returning to Birmingham. Betty, almost old enough to get into the Army, was being seriously courted by one of the airmen. While we looked out across the sea one day, she said: ‘I wonder if we’ll all ...

Alas! Deceived

Alan Bennett: Philip Larkin, 25 March 1993

Philip Larkin: A Writer’s Life 
by Andrew Motion.
Faber, 570 pp., £20, April 1993, 0 571 15174 4
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... Elsie, secretary to his father, took her bottom-pinching Führer-friendly boss in her stride, so Betty, the secretary to the son, never turned a hair when she came across his lunchtime reading in the shape of the splayed buttocks of some gym-slipped tot, just covering it briskly with a copy of the Library Association Record and carrying on cataloguing. One ...

You, You, You, You, You, You, and Mom

Curtis Sittenfeld: Sean Wilsey’s memoir, 1 December 2005

Oh the Glory of It All 
by Sean Wilsey.
Viking, 482 pp., £14.99, September 2005, 0 670 91601 3
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... prostitutes and Nobel laureates. On one occasion Sean comes home from school to find that ‘the cook and the housekeeper – in French maids’ uniforms – had joined the table for lunch with Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem. (Said Mom: “They were the perfect people to talk with domestic workers about the difficulty of ...

Corbyn in the Media

Paul Myerscough, 22 October 2015

... instinct for leadership contests led him to back Liz Kendall), Steve Coogan, Matthew D’Ancona, Betty Boothroyd. Papers aren’t just papers any longer. A lot of these commentaries appeared online, some of them only online, where they are now archived among the thousands of articles the Guardian has published on Corbyn or the leadership campaign in the last ...

A Question of Breathing

John Bayley, 4 August 1988

Elizabeth Barrett Browning 
by Margaret Forster.
Chatto, 400 pp., £14.95, June 1988, 0 7011 3018 0
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Selected Poems of Elizabeth Barrett Browning 
by Margaret Forster.
Chatto, 330 pp., £12.95, June 1988, 0 7011 3311 2
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The Poetical Works of Robert Browning: Vol. III 
edited by Ian Jack and Rowena Fowler.
Oxford, 542 pp., £60, June 1988, 0 19 812762 6
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The Complete Works of Robert Browning: Vol. VIII 
edited by Roma King and Susan Crowl.
Ohio/Baylor University, 379 pp., £47.50, September 1988, 9780821403808
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... of her man. When her sister Henrietta finally managed to marry her soldier lover Surtees Cook, in the teeth of their father’s antagonism, Elizabeth Barrett was dubious about the results: but as well as being rich, Surtees proved himself a genial and doting husband and father. In a letter to her sister Elizabeth admitted that she had come to feel a ...

The Angry Men

Jean McNicol: Harriet Harman, 14 December 2017

A Woman’s Work 
by Harriet Harman.
Allen Lane, 405 pp., £20, February 2017, 978 0 241 27494 1
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The Women Who Shaped Politics 
by Sophy Ridge.
Coronet, 295 pp., £20, March 2017, 978 1 4736 3876 1
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... and his friend to the cinema when she was called into the Commons to deputise for her boss, Robin Cook, who was stuck in Edinburgh. She says it would have been easy enough to change her plans, but ‘my maternal self-esteem, precarious at the best of times, would have collapsed altogether if I turned into one of those parents who let their children down ...

Dark Emotions

Jenny Turner: The Women’s Liberation Movement, 24 September 2020

directed by Philippa Lowthorpe.
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directed by the Berwick Street Film Collective.
Lux/Koenig/Raven Row, £24, July 2019
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Sisterhood and After: An Oral History of the UK Women's Liberation Movement, 1968-present 
by Margaretta Jolly.
Oxford, 334 pp., £22.99, November 2019, 978 0 19 065884 7
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... Naomi Wolf in a vagina-pasta necklace.Sweet Freedom did not ignore the ‘strange stirring’ Betty Friedan had noticed in the American suburbs of the 1950s or the tunnel ‘dug … through to the women’s movement from the Love Generation’ by the Australian Greer, but both Coote and Campbell had come to feminism in Britain and ‘out of ...

I only want the OM

Christopher Tayler: Somerset Maugham, 1 September 2005

Somerset Maugham: A Life 
by Jeffrey Meyers.
Vintage, 411 pp., £12, April 2005, 1 4000 3052 8
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... well-trained staff’ served absinthe martinis and meals prepared by ‘the best cook on the Riviera’. On fine days, an awed American publisher reported, Maugham could be seen waterskiing off Cap Ferrat: ‘Seated on a high chair on top of his aquaplane, tethered to his speedy launch, he skips over the Mediterranean at a speed of fifteen to ...

The Reviewer’s Song

Andrew O’Hagan: Mailer’s Last Punch, 7 November 2013

Norman Mailer: A Double Life 
by J. Michael Lennon.
Simon and Schuster, 947 pp., £30, November 2013, 978 1 84737 672 5
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... I knew when I worked at the London Review.) On the day of the dinner she phoned to say that her cook had broken her arm so the dinner would be in a restaurant called Basta Pasta on 17th Street. I thought that sounded like the kind of place my friend Sam and I would find insufficiently grand for breakfast, but when I got there I saw that it was in fact ...

Skating Charm

James Wolcott: Kenneth Tynan, 13 December 2001

The Diaries of Kenneth Tynan 
edited by John Lahr.
Bloomsbury, 439 pp., £25, October 2001, 0 7475 5418 8
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... limericks (‘The anus of Marie Corelli/Was vast and repulsively smelly’), a crass couplet about Betty Ford’s mastectomy, crude literary anecdotes (asked by a snobbish girl how he planned to spend the summer, the novelist James Jones replied, ‘I’m having my asshole sewed up to see if I can shit through my armpits’) and inane puns (apropos a ...

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